Head Coach Kyle Shanahan Press Conference

Head Coach Kyle Shanahan

Press Conference – September 19, 2022

San Francisco 49ers

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Opening comments:

“Alright guys, injuries from the game. [TE] Tyler Kroft had an MCL sprain, he’ll be out a few weeks. [RB] Ty Davis-Price had a high-ankle sprain. He’ll miss a few weeks also. Go ahead.”

Have you spoken to QB Trey Lance today and how are his spirits after a successful surgery?

“I have not spoke to him yet today. I talked to him last night. I know the surgery went this morning and he got out of it a little bit ago. I just finished with the team though and started this. I’ll get to him as soon as I’m done with you guys.”

After looking at the film, how did you feel like the offense performed last night?

“I thought they did some real good things. Obviously, we have to do better in the red zone. Having that fumbled snap down there on, I think third-and-goal on the two was a big one. The first series down there, we need to come away with points, not three. But I thought we did a real good job running the ball, just a collective effort from everybody. Everyone who did do it and the number of runs that we got just showed it. I thought we did a good job on third down and things like that. So overall, I was happy, but definitely want to do better.”

A year ago, you spoke to ESPN’s Ed Werder about Trey Lance and said, “He’s not Baltimore Ravens QB Lamar Jackson. Trey is a quarterback who has the ability to run, but to just line them up and run him, the game’s too physical.” Can you just explain what you meant by that considering Lance has ran 37 times in his three starts?

“Yeah, that means we didn’t want to move him to running back. It means that everything’s with a read principle and that you don’t go out there and just run him every single play. He’s a quarterback who can run. I also think that was in reference to asking if Trey could help us out at running back last year because of all our injuries to it. And no, we weren’t going to move him there.”

With Ty Davis-Price’s injury, you talked about last week how you need your young running backs to kind of grow up on the fly and be better without the ball. Speaking of RB Jordan Mason, he’s the next young running back and also you have RB Marlon Mack, but how has is Mason progressing in practice over the next week? And do you feel comfortable throwing him in there now?

“He needs to now. I thought last week was his first week getting a lot more of that, him and Ty. And I thought they both stepped it up in that area. I thought I thought J.P. had his best special teams game, did a real good job on special teams. Ty did it early in the game, but he didn’t know about it. Neither did we, so we never knew that he was hurt. He didn’t, so he was able to go most of the game so J.P. didn’t get in there on offense, but he’ll have to be ready this week now.”

How would you assess RB Jeff Wilson Jr.’s performance? Just one of his better games, especially since last year he was out for half the year.

“Yeah, I thought Jeff was a stud. You could see it on the first two runs of the game. I didn’t think they were blocked that well, just the fronts that they were in they came out with six bigs in the game and just to watch the way that Jeff got six yards on the first run and six on the second versus some tough looks. You could just see how hard he was running and what Jeff does when he doesn’t have the ball is really good too. He helps us out in a ton of ways.”

Is the plan to bring in a few more running backs this week for workouts?

“Yes. Yeah. We didn’t know about Ty until a little bit later, but yeah, we have to get on that. We know we had some in last week and we’re going to have to bring in a group again.”

On that same subject, how did Marlon Mack kind of acclimate last week and what’s his state of readiness from your point of view?

“I thought he did a good job. He looked good in practice. He got mainly scout-team reps, but he looked like he’d been around, carried himself the right way and you can see the skillset that has given him some success in this league.”

The defense held Seattle to 36 yards rushing. What did you see from them in the game last night?

“They were great. To hold a team like that, especially with some of their runners and their commitment to it, in order to do that, you can’t give up a big one. You can stuff people all day, but usually someone can crease through there a little bit. And I think our biggest one was like eight yards and I know they average in the low twos, so it was a hell of a job by the defense, allowed them to get to third down and that’s usually where we do our best.”

Did you have to constrain some of the play calling for QB Jimmy Garoppolo last year when he was playing with those two injuries hurt and by extension yesterday, how nice was it to have him back healthy and with full confidence and ability to throw down field?

“Yeah, it was great. Yeah, you always have to when guys have certain things, quarterbacks especially, but all players, you always want to know what they can do the best, what they’re hurting from. And you always try to put them in the best situation possible. And Jimmy had a number of games where he wasn’t a hundred percent healthy, but we got him back fully yesterday and I was glad that he was ready. He came in there, I thought did a hell of a job for us and was real pivotal in helping us get that win.”

Because Jimmy’s still familiar with the offense, he said that he got some play calls that he wasn’t familiar with, but you felt you were comfortable enough with him being out there just because he’s so familiar?

“No, that’s the case for the number two quarterback all the time. There’s plays that they don’t get a rep. They just get to see the starter rep it. You try to get them on the side, you try to get them on air. They do a lot of stuff. They try to carry over the looks for the defense that they try to give, but very rarely does the second-team guy get any reps, let alone rep all the plays. So there’s a few plays that he had to do for the first time out there and he did them well.”

On the fourth-and-nine from the 39, was the idea that was going be an interception or a touchdown? Was that the idea there?

“No, that’s something that’s like a big analytics thing there, to go for that situation just because the probability of how many yards that you’re gaining with a touchback versus a punt inside-the-10, but it’s not something I always go with. It kind of depends on the feel of the game. I felt really good about we just got a turnover. I really wanted to capitalize on that turnover. I liked our third down play. We came up just short, really liked our fourth down play that we had, I thought it would work and it didn’t. But no, we weren’t trying to just throw a pick there. We were trying to move the chains and get a big play and it didn’t work out. So, obviously I’d love to have that back, but the defense saved us because they ended up getting a turnover on that drive.”

With Trey, obviously with the surgery being done now, what is, I don’t know if you’ve gotten this far, but what is the plan for him in terms of how much he’ll be around, where he’ll do his rehab, you know, things like that?

“I’m sure he is going to be around here all the time and do his rehab here and we haven’t even discussed that, but I’d be shocked if it wasn’t that case. So, right now, he got out of surgery a little bit ago. I know we’re all just kind of worried about him and making sure that he’s doing all right mentally and physically. We’ll talk to him here real soon. I know some guys have been over there to already visit him, but yeah, we’re not sure yet, but as soon as he can get back in here and start rehabbing we’re going to want him to be a part of everything. Every meeting he can be at, every practice he can be at. I know he’s not going to be able to do all of that, because of how much he’s going to have to rehab, but especially in those meetings, we don’t plan on Trey being away from us at all. Whenever he is not taken care of his ankle, we plan on him being with us.”

Is the expectation that he’ll be ready for Week 1 next year or is it too soon to say?

“I would assume so. I don’t think it’s that long of a, I haven’t actually gotten to talk to the doctors exactly after the surgery, but I’ve never heard them saying that it would be that long.”

How do you feel where you guys are in terms of pass protection right now, especially with the three new guys in the middle?

“I think they’ve done a real good job these last two games., in protection. I feel like we’ve had time to throw. I feel like we’ve had very few free hitters. And I’ve been very pleased in these first two weeks.”

I have a sense you’d like another quarterback running question.

“I’m good with it. Actually, the more, the better so I can help educate.”

I’m eager to get your tutorial here. Given the situation now with Jimmy and obviously, QB Brock Purdy, who you believe in, but obviously, is totally inexperienced behind him. I realize, it’s football as you say, but did you have any e trepidation about calling a quarterback sneak with kind of the game in hand at the end there with Garoppolo?

“Actually, a drop-back play is riskier than a quarterback sneak, so those are the things that really confuse me. I see guys get killed in the pocket on drop backs and I’ve never had a quarterback get hurt on the sneak before. It doesn’t mean it can’t happen. It is football and that’s what I mean by that. You can get hurt on any single play. It seems that we only get interest when he is carrying the ball when he gets injured and that’s the whole thing that there’s a risk-reward with everything. But now to throw sneaks in there too, because of a time in the game is really surprising to me.”

What about the zone read for Jimmy Garoppolo down by the goal line? That was much more dangerous than the quarterback sneak.

“Yeah, we have to read the D-End a little bit better and get some work at that, so when the D-End does take the quarterback, you hand it off. So that’s stuff we have to do, but that’s a very normal play in all of football at all levels for everybody. I’m surprised you guys haven’t seen some of the quarterbacks run zone read on us. When [New Orleans Saints QB] Andy Dalton walks in the end zone from the 10-yard line or [Minnesota Vikings QB] Kirk Cousins does, or a lot of the guys who do run that stuff and when you’re not accounting for the quarterback, it’s a pretty normal thing.”

People were just surprised because there was no backup because Trey was already out. That’s the only reason people were surprised by it. The score, the time of the game, the fact that FB Kyle Juszczyk was the next man up and you said you wanted the question, so I’m just putting it out there, but I think that’s enough.

“Oh yeah, no, it’s a great question. That’s why we did it, to surprise you guys, usually when people are surprised it works.”

You’ve suggested that QB Brock Purdy would be the number two if you didn’t get Jimmy back. I assume that he is the number two now. Does that mean that you have full confidence that if you needed him to play, if you needed him to start a bunch of games, you have full confidence in Brock Purdy?

“Yeah, that’s why we chose him as our number two going into the year. And I feel great about Brock regardless, but there’s not just like a store where you just go get quarterbacks at any time. Same thing with running backs. It’s like every other position guys, when guys get hurt it’s who’s on your roster and who’s on your practice squad and we had three quarterbacks on our roster fortunately. So that’s why I’m very glad that we didn’t risk Brock and lose him because that’d be a huge problem right now. That’s stuff that we had to do with backs so we could do it with the quarterback and that’s the position that you end up getting in. It’s close to happening with us at tight end. So, now we’re here at quarterback and we’ll see what’s out there. We definitely need to get a guy in here for practice squad because we do need a third man up in case something happens because he’s one play away from being the backup and he’s two plays away from being our starter. So, you have to plan that at every position and quarterback, obviously, being the most important.”

I guess I was asking, what about Purdy? Did you just see things in him in the preseason or in practices that told you this guy’s more advanced than I thought he was?

“Oh yeah, totally. I mean, we saw it in practice pretty consistently. I mean we liked him obviously, that’s why we took him where we did. But when he got here, just the plays he made in practice, kind of the consistency, when you get thrown out there not knowing a lot as a rookie and that third guy doesn’t get as many reps and the lack of hesitation that he played with. He played like a guy who had played for four years in college and started four years in college. And then we got in those preseason games, I think you guys saw kind of what I’m talking about. It wasn’t always good, and it wasn’t always perfect, but the guy reacted and made plays and showed the game wasn’t too big for him. He’s got the ability to do it and we saw him through college, and we’ve seen it here and you hope that he can sit and rest and just watch these other guys and be ready, but the guy’s a confident person and we’ve really liked what we’ve seen here. And I think the players feel the same way as I do.”

Was TE George Kittle close to playing Sunday?

“Yeah, he was close, that’s why we took it that far. But, obviously he wasn’t able to go and I’m glad we didn’t because I think he could have got through the game, but there was going to be a higher risk of him reinjuring that. To be able to pull that game off and still get a win, I’m very glad with the decision we made and that should give him a much better chance to be good to go this week.”

Last week, you talked about you guys needing to finish better on defense and obviously you didn’t allow an offensive touchdown. What goes through your mind when you watch this defense? Because punt, punt, punt, you guys do a good job of finishing, and then I guess my next question is what’s one way that you feel like you guy can do better on that side of the ball?

“My favorite things about this game is that I thought it was similar to Chicago because I thought we were close to having a dominant performance versus Chicago. But every time they got one good play, whether it was from a penalty or an off-schedule play, we didn’t really make the plays after that to recover. And no matter how good you play, you’re still going to give up some stuff. It’s what you do after that. And you always try to say it doesn’t count until they cross that goal line and I looked at yesterday, I think it was like play 15, or 13, they got their first explosive hitting [Seattle WR Tyler] Lockett outside the numbers on a little play action play and then right after that, the next play, I think [LB Dre] Greenlaw had a TFL in the flat, took care of it, made it a second-and-12, and then the play after that, [S Talanoa Hufanga] Huf undercut and tipped it and got a pick. So, we responded with a huge turnover after a play. Later in the day, they got their one off-schedule play where the quarterback broke the pocket, we ended up dropping a guy and chasing him, similar to the Chicago game and he hit Lockett across the field, that got them in the red zone, and then I love that we recovered with a pick there on the goal line, on the trick play by [CB Charvarius Ward] Mooney. So, it’s things like that where the standard of how we play, there were some good things with that in Chicago, but it didn’t matter, we still gave up three touchdowns. I saw the similar stuff yesterday, but the defense tightened up and when there was a good play by their team, we just made a better play the following three downs.”